A concept that many hear about before college is even an option: The Freshman 15. These suggestions may help in preventing that extra weight gain or they may not, the beginning of college can keep things in that uncertain nature. Here are some steps I wish I had known to avoid the freshman 15.
1. Limit Eating Out
This seems fairly obvious, but it is something that is incredibly difficult to control at the start of college. With all the newfound freedom and potential cash in your wallet, eating out has an appeal. It’s quick, convenient, and it can be disguised as fancy birthday dinners with your new college friends. You might try to qualify birthday dinners as necessary opposed to fast food cheeseburgers but that doesn’t make the practice any healthier. As soon as you notice that your weight is shifting, consider dinners out as a special occasion not a requirement. I know it’s tough!
2. Bring Your Own Lunch
A lot of college campuses offer lunch options that are actually full of sugar or processed elements that do not help you avoid the freshman 15. By packing your own lunch, much like in elementary school, you can make sure that you have healthier options available and you’ll save some money too! Remember that the point of bringing your own lunch is to create a satisfying healthy meal not just bringing your own sugary snacks from your dorm room.
3. Keep Moving
I know it can be difficult trying to remain active when starting college. You’re getting used to your new class schedule in a new environment and exercising is probably the last thing on your mind. Instead of waiting until exercise is required to shed the freshman 15, consider getting ahead of the game. Exercising at least twice a week using any method that works for you will help you avoid the freshman 15. Not only will you feel better, but it will make those walks between classes seem like a breeze!
4. Check In With Your Mental Health
Sometimes we don’t realize how much food we’re consuming or which types of food we gravitate towards until we check in with ourselves. You are making physical as well as mental adjustments when starting college and it is important to take inventory of your feelings. Are you struggling with all these changes? Is something bothering you that you haven’t told anyone about yet? It is important to have our mental health balanced to make any changes with our physical health and sometimes we need a gentle reminder.
5. Use That Summer Before College To Get Ahead
The summer after high school before college is a weird space. You want to hang out with all your friends before you split into different directions and changes to come in the Fall haven’t quite registered. On the off-chance you are reading this article before starting your college journey, consider using that summer to cut down on your late-night snacking or other treats you tend to indulge in. This could be a process you employ during any summer because you have some more free time to consider what you’re eating and the impact it has on your overall health. Summers are a great time for fun, but they can also be an incredibly valuable transition period.
6. Don’t Assume It Won’t Happen To You
We’ve all heard the freshman 15 cautionary tales and swear that it won’t happen to us. You get so preoccupied with college life that sometimes the extra weight sneaks up on you and then you are forced to get over this denial phase because our assumptions were wrong. Don’t assume it won’t happen to you! It can easily happen to anyone and a lot of the times it happens to everyone. This doesn’t mean that it’s the end of the world, it just means you must make a few adjustments.